There’s been rampant speculation about how the NHL landscape will look for the 2012-13 season since the announcement came that the league was looking into the idea of realignment. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold may have already spilled the beans.
Leipold told a local Minneapolis radio station that the Wild would be placed in the Central Division along with the newly christened Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars and possibly the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Two things can be surmised from this statement. First, it appears the Red Wings will not be in the Central Division according to Leipold, in which case they are likely headed for the Eastern Conference. It would make no sense to break up the Chicago-Detroit Central Division rivalry and keep Detroit in the Western Conference.
Second, it appears the league will stick with two 15-team conferences instead of a uneven 16-14 divide like Major League Baseball if it’s true that Columbus will remain in the Central Division. It was believed in earlier reports that both Columbus and Detroit would move East. However, Leipold left open the possibility that Columbus could move East, so it’s anything but a given right now.
You can read Leipold’s statement here at SB Nation Hockey.